GAR Foundation is seeking a Communications Officer who can help us tell the story of how we work to help Akron become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant.

The Communications Officer (full-time, 40 hours/week) is a newly-created role, designed to drive three key functions:

  1. Generate thoughtful written and visual content to convey GAR Foundation’s systems change grantmaking work to a variety of audiences; develop and implement long-term strategies that bridge content to targeted audiences;
  2. Oversee and liaise with the Foundation’s external communications firm which handles the bulk of GAR’s social media engagement, media relations, e-blast creation, and other content channels; leverage the firm’s capacity to advance communications strategies, and,
  3. Design community convenings and engagement opportunities in collaboration with GAR staff; assist with developing outreach strategies and content for the convening sessions.

Systems storytelling and content creation

A large portion of GAR’s grantmaking program ties to systems change work in the areas of Early Childhood Education, K-16 Education, and Economic and Workforce Development. The Foundation’s work in these areas is built around deep partnerships and strategies designed to address root causes and to move toward long-term solutions.

The Communications Officer will be:

  • embedded in our program staff discussions and will be expected to develop a deep, comprehensive understanding of this nuanced work.
  • charged with distilling systems work into digestible written and visual content for a variety of audiences and media.
  • charged with assisting Foundation staff in the development of general social media posts and other content on an ongoing basis.

Oversight of / liaising with an outside communications firm

The Foundation has outsourced the bulk of its social media engagement as well as media relations to a local firm. The Communications Officer will serve as the Foundation’s internal point person for communications and will ensure robust coordination with the outside firm toward the achievement of all communications objectives.

The ideal candidate will have excellent skills in understanding, distilling, and communicating complex topics as written and visual content. They will also have solid project management and relational skills, to ensure alignment with the external firm and timely achievement of the objectives in the Foundation’s communications plan. 

The overall strategic scope of the role is to:

  • Protect and build the Foundation’s reputation as a thought leader and strategic grantmaker in Greater Akron 
  • Build awareness of, and broad support for, our programmatic objectives, particularly in our systems grantmaking areas
  • Enable a consistent flow of communication between vendor firm and Foundation staff for timely execution of the Foundation’s plans

CONVENING SUPPORT

The Foundation strategically convenes grantees and other community stakeholders to explore and advance subject areas and opportunities that tie to its key strategies. The Communications Officer will provide critical support in the convening work, with meeting design, outreach strategies, and the development of engaging content that will drive the achievement of meeting objectives. The Foundation believes that excellent convenings – the kind that provides value to participants and advances strategic work – do not happen by accident. Rather they are the result of careful planning, preparation, and foresight. The Communications Officer will assist in all facets of this work to create the conditions for top-quality convenings.

Core Responsibilities

  • Prepare all draft communications in support of major Foundation initiatives aligned with our strategic plan. Key strategies include systemic solutions and community grantmaking priorities.
  • Work closely with a communications firm to achieve weekly and monthly messaging objectives.
  • Ensure consistent communications engagement with the Foundation’s firm, and update internal Foundation contacts regularly.
  • Support press relations on occasion, working closely with an outside firm.
  • Develop, in tandem with Foundation staff and the external firm, a communications strategy and steward the implementation of the plan, some of which will be executed by the external firm and some of which will be executed by the Communications Officer.
  • Optimize resources to ensure effective execution of communications strategies.
  • Support all facets of the Foundation’s convening work, especially the creation of engagement strategies and content.
  • Over time develop a long-term strategic approach to communications that puts the needs of the Akron community in front of national funders and other resources.

Position Reports to: President, GAR Foundation


Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Superior written communication skills and demonstrated expertise in writing for broad and narrow audiences.
  • The ability to distill nuanced topics into simple, clear message points.
  • The ability to generate engaging, visually appealing content (PowerPoint presentations, infographics, video content, etc.)
  • Working knowledge of desktop publishing software and content creation platforms.
  • Strong project/vendor management skills, including initiative, the ability to plan and implement work, and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to create productive and healthy relationships.
  • Ability to work independently, drawing on their own expertise but remaining open to feedback.
  • Exhibits a high degree of self-awareness relative to their strengths and opportunities for growth.
  • Possesses a growth mindset and flexibility in adapting to dynamic work.
  • Media relations and social media management expertise, including video/webinar presentation.
  • A current understanding of evolving tools and channels of communications.
  • An understanding of the political, cultural, and media contexts of Greater Akron.

Education and Experience

  • Masters or Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a relevant field such as Communications, Public Relations, Journalism, Political Science, Organizational Development
  • At least 5 years of experience in professional communication, journalism, or public policy role.
  • Experience managing vendors, consultants, or contractors.
  • Experience working collaboratively with teams, preferably including partners internal and external to the organization.
  • Experience working in a communications agency, a philanthropic organization, or a nonprofit is strongly preferred.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salaried, full-time position, 40 hours/week.
  • Compensation ranging from $50,000 – $61,000, commensurate with experience
  • Health, dental, and vision coverage for employee and eligible family members
  • Participation in GAR’s employer-funded Health Savings Account program
  • Eligibility for GAR Foundation’s 401k retirement savings program
  • Participation in GAR Foundation’s matching gift program

GAR Foundation is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and affirmative action employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, disability status, or any other applicable characteristics protected by law. We embrace and celebrate diversity and we strive to create genuine belonging for all.

Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and a digital portfolio of relevant communications work to [email protected]. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The first round of interviews will begin in June. Please, no calls or emails other than to the designated email address. Thank you.